Now I don't claim to be a blogging expert. Not even close. Nuh uh, no way.
But there is a certain amount of stuff that you learn through trial and error when you do something virtually every day for a whole year. I know it's a massive cliché to say that the past twelve months have been a journey but they really have and in different ways to those that I had originally imagined, bit like life really.
It's not just the subject matter that has evolved over time but the how, where, why, what and when has changed too. This along with developing my writing style into something that feels right aka finding my 'voice' (yep, I like found my voice and then everything became smashing), has helped to turn my blog into something I really enjoy working on, thinking about and planning and that's the best you can hope for isn't it?
So I thought it would be nice to pass on the good stuff, share what I've learned in the hope that someone, somewhere who is just starting to blog or trying to find ways to get out of the blogging doldrums (they happen, they really do), can get some small bit of help.
Right, here we go with my four tips to make and keep blogging an enjoyable experience (yep, I am like Yoda and everything now, I am):
Develop your own style
You will know instinctively what feels right and what doesn't. Don't try to force something that isn't there or try to be something or someone that you're not. This is something that's quite difficult when you first start blogging and have been inspired by some fabulous blogger whose style and personality you love. Do not copy them, do not try to be them. You are you and that's the great thing about you.
It's lovely to get an idea of someone's personality from the way they write and the things they write about and that's why people will end up reading your blog. Also, trying to be like someone else is quite stressful. Try to be honest and stick with your own way of doing things. It works, I promise.
When I started blogging I tried to stifle the urge to crack jokes all the time, especially ones at my own expense but then I realised that actually I do that all the time in real life, I always try to find the funny, so it should be reflected in my blog too, n'est-ce pas??
Find your niche (next thing I'll be asking you to develop a USP!!)
This is a tough one if you just want to write about good stuff, pretty stuff and lovely things in general, which is exactly how I started and I was all over the place writing about make up one day and beetroot the next.
Now, don't get me wrong, I still write about random lovely stuff but I have a main focus and that is crochet and everything always seems to come back to that. I think this is because I crochet every single day and so I always have something crochet-related to blog about.
Also I think this helps in finding great places that bloggers hang out, for instance crochet and crafty folk tend to congregate on Ravelry and most of my bloggy friends are into crochet and craft too. It isn't essential to find a niche but it sure does help and provides a focus for blog planning etc.
I have a small admission to make. For the first six or seven months of blogging I didn't get involved. There, I've said it. Now I didn't do this deliberately, I was just blogging for personal reasons and I kinda thought that only my family and friends would be reading it so I concentrated on content and didn't really poke my head out and check out other bloggers.
Then as time went on and I started to blog more about crochet, I started to meet new people. They kept dropping by and leaving lovely comments and then I would go and look at their blogs and leave them lovely comments and now I find myself with lots of blogging friends, lots of favourite blogs and a huge supply of inspiration.
And inspiration is what it's all about, it gives you a fresh insight into the world; what people like, what people don't like, trends, fads and brilliant new stuff. Another good place to hang out for inspiration is Pinterest. I haven't tired of it, still love it and still visit every day, you can always find a brilliant new thing on Pinterest.
I think this is important. Unless blogging needs to be your main source of income or you have big, big goals for your blog, just relax and enjoy the ride. It's completely free.
One of my biggest mistakes was getting all ahead of myself last year and moving over to wordpress, getting a dedicated web address and blah, blah, blah. It was horrendous, I don't even know why I did it, maybe I thought I would become a blogging mogul or something. Anyway it led to disaster, I couldn't figure out wordpress, couldn't understand the domain registration stuff (am still getting emails from them now that worry me!), and I got myself in a right old pickle.
Then one day I thought "this isn't fun anymore" and just stopped. Moved straight back to blogger, relaxed and now I just enjoy myself. I blog when I can but don't put too much pressure on myself to do so and instead walk the dog, eat some chips or make something pretty. So much more fun.
So there you have it. My Yoda inspired tips for blogging and not a hint of html, google analytics or backlink advice anywhere to be seen. I really believe blogging should be something to be enjoyed and not taken too seriously and I hope you do enjoy it (if you partake) and enjoy reading them if you don't (especially mine, you better enjoy reading mine or else!!).